When I was growing up, I was told many times, “You need to act like a fine young man!” My mother and father were trying to teach me how to behave properly and have good manners.
Then as I got a little bit older, I was instructed to act like a good student in school. I was being taught to demonstrate good behavior in class and to be respectful to my teachers so that I would not get into trouble.
Because of the strong Christian faith of my mother, I was also told, “You must act like a good Christian today.” She wanted me to display the characteristics of love and compassion towards other people and have an attitude that was pleasing to God and man alike.
In military school the command was to, “Act like a good soldier!” It was a very challenging time because we were constantly being taught personal discipline and responsibility. We were also required to get up very early and oftentimes stayed up late.
When I got married I was told, “You need to act like a good husband by demonstrating love, consideration and kindness toward your wife. Be thoughtful and understanding of her needs and feelings.”
A few years later, after we had children, I was instructed, “You need to act like a good father. Spend time playing with your children and nurturing them. Train them and guide them in the ways of life so they will grow up to be productive people.”
Later still, when I was a Youth Director, I was told, “You must act like a good leader.” To do that it meant visiting people in the hospital, helping with funerals and weddings, and encouraging as many people as possible.
Finally, when I got involved in the business world, I was coached to “act like a good business owner.” People would encourage me to be cautious with my business plan and watch the “bottom line” carefully. I was told that cash flow was the life-blood of any business. I was told, “If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall!” So true!
While I appreciate very much all of the advice I was given by the many people in my life, I have come to realize that although it was very helpful, it created a problem. What I discovered was that I actually became an outstanding actor! What I should have been focusing on in every one of those situations was being, not acting.
We have all heard the phrase, “You need to get your act together!” I think it would be far better to understand that we all need to get our “be” together! In a word, we need to stop acting and start being.
Each day we have a choice to make. We can either put on an act for others to see or we can truly be the person we were intended to be. We need to be a fine young man or woman, be a good person, be a good father or mother, be a good business person. I know this is a very fine point but, finer distinctions will make the difference in someone’s life between being a good person and being an exceptional person.
It is amazing to me that when I focus on what am I actually trying to become, rather than just on how I want to act, it makes a world of difference in my personal life.
I have given up acting! I do not want to act any more because it does not produce any long-term effects. But, when I work to become someone who is real and I can operate in all of the above areas of life in a way that is honorable and fitting, it begins to mold and shape my heart, mind, character and destiny. I have found this to be one of the most powerful concepts that I experience on a daily basis.
Why not join me and give up acting and start being? Whether or not people notice it really does not matter. You will notice it and that is what counts!
Tip: Stop acting and start being!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm